Popaganda Worth Paying For

New Luger recruit Niklas Jonsson said the lineup and the turn-out justified his decision to charge admission for this year’s Popaganda, the Swedish event he started as a free festival in 2002.

He ran it that way until 2006, supporting it from food and beverage sales and sponsorship, often attracting crowds of about 12,000 to the Stockholm University site to see some of Scandinavia’s best indie talent.

Now he said it’s “brilliant” that at least half that number were prepared to pay to see the new version. The extra income has helped bolster the lineup to include a handful of international acts.

The August 29-30 event attracted 6,000 on the first day and sold all 7,500 tickets on the second with a lineup that included legendary Swedish rock act Bob Hund, Hercules & Love Affair, Sebastien Tellier, Kelley Polar, and Shout Out Louds.

Jonsson joined Luger – which is now wholly owned by Live Nation – when previous employer Supreme Royal Deluxe, the Hultsfred booking company owned by Petri Lunden and Janne Kleman, was sold to AEG.

He missed out on staging Popaganda in 2007 because the university said it couldn’t stay where it was. He decided to treat that as an opportunity to make a clean break and a fresh start.

“We needed to move the festival and that made everything new in a way. We sat down and discussed what we wanted to do and, when we found the new site, it was a great match,” he explained. “Now we’ve done the festival we really wanted to do.”

The new site is Eriksdalsbadet, the area surrounding the university’s open-air bathing pools, which is parkland surrounded by woods. Two of the pools remained open during the festival, which meant fans could take a dip when they needed to cool off.

The other acts helping Jonsson take the plunge and put a new spin on Popaganda included Säkert!, Teddybears STHLM, The Embassy, The Radio Dept, Familjen, Laakso, Marching Band, and First Aid Kit.